Sugar Land officials in Texas fired employees at an animal shelter last week after an investigation found they improperly euthanized dozens of animals.
The City of Sugar Land announced the firings in a statement on Friday after determining that at least 38 dogs and cats were improperly euthanized by Sugar Land's Animal Services shelter.
Five employees were promptly terminated in light of the "unacceptable actions," according to the city. The manager of the shelter resigned from his position before he could be fired.
The fired employees reportedly claimed that the euthanized animals were behaving aggressively or "had a medical diagnosis".
But investigations revealed that the cats and dogs were euthanized without evaluations or supervision from a veterinarian, which are both mandatory. The city said a certified behaviorist was also needed to determined if aggressive animals should be euthanized.
City officials then concluded that employees purposely ignored verbal instructions and disregarded protocol to put the animals to sleep.
Sugar Land officials emphasized that they are working to restore the public's trust amid the disturbing revelations.
"The city will continue working to implement any training and protocols needed to ensure this never happens again," the city said in a statement.
"It will take time to rebuild public trust, but the city is committed to doing so," they added. "The swift and deliberate investigation and disciplinary actions are a start."
The Sugar Land Animal Shelter Dogs Facebook page, which is run by volunteers, also grieved the "sickening and disturbing news." They distanced themselves from the fired employees, saying the unauthorized euthanasia happened "behind closed doors."
"Our mission and goal of this page is to promote our amazing dogs for adoption and bring smiles to faces by showing their cute and silly personalities," the post on the page read.
Fox News Digital reached out to the City of Sugar Land for additional information but did not receive a response.